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Kentucky seeks grit after upset

Kentucky coach John Calipari cautioned anyone who would listen that all the talent possessed by his latest freshman class would mean nothing if it didn't show a little toughness.

If he was having trouble getting his team's attention, he's not anymore.

The No. 1 Wildcats showed none of that grit in an 87-77 loss at UCLA on Thursday night, a game in which Calipari's concerns about his team's resolve painfully unfolded in UK's first regular-season loss in nearly 21 months.

"We got kicked, we got beat, we move on," Calipari said. "We've had a pretty good run, and we'll see if we can get it going again."

Kentucky (7-1) has until Wednesday, when it faces Eastern Kentucky, to find some of that missing fortitude.

Against the Bruins, the Wildcats shot 38 percent, were edged 38-37 on the boards and looked lost for the most part in the school's first visit to Pauley Pavilion. Calipari's hope was that his team remembers that empty feeling it had during the five-hour overnight flight home and learn from it.

"We have a couple of guys not fighting right now, but we're going to get there. It's early in the season," said sophomore guard Tyler Ulis, who played with a wrap on his injured right elbow.

Then there is the questionable status of 6-foot-9 junior forward Marcus Lee, who left the game against UCLA with a head injury about 4½ minutes in and did not return. Without their leading rebounder, things went downhill for the Cats against UCLA, which led by as many as 15 points. UK led for just 30 seconds in the game.

UCLA (4-3) had plenty of motivation, especially given last season's humiliating 83-44 loss to Kentucky. Bruins coach Steve Alford referred to that game when asked where he would rank Thursday's victory. "There have been a lot of fun times," he said, "but this one is very special because of what happened last year.

"It's not like we've gotten off to a blazing start this year, but we're growing."

No. 2 Maryland 96, St. Francis 55: Robert Carter had 20 points as the host Terrapins (7-1) bounced back from their first loss of the season Tuesday against No. 9 North Carolina. Freshman Diamond Stone added 16 points, and Jake Layman scored 11 of his 16 in the first half.

Wisconsin: Guard Brevin Pritzl, who reinjured his left foot in practice Tuesday, is out indefinitely. He is coming off a broken foot that required surgery in August.

Kentucky seeks grit after upset 12/04/15 [Last modified: Friday, December 4, 2015 11:31pm]
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